The Twelfth of the After Action Reports (AAR) following my direction of the Irish Empire, tracing the dynasty of the Briain dynasty through the Middle Ages. The previous AARs can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11.
It has been many generations since the Alban Empire (or the Irish Kingdom before that) had a male ruler. Long ago, soon after the adoption of the Cathar faith, the Alban Empire transitioned to the idea that men and women were equally able to rule. Despite some early difficulties with smooth transitions involving other kingdoms who didn't subscribe to this notion (fixed by killing the male spouses...), it has been a long held ideal that is starting to spread amongst the Kingdoms that fall under the Alban sphere of influence.
So, the Albans have mostly had Queens and Empresses, with the greatest of them (Empress Brigid) bringing the Empire to it's height of glory in a long lived reign. Her daughter, the former Empress Rachel (the mother of the current Basileus Eogan) launched a war for the throne of the Byzantine Empire. If successful, this would bring two of the most powerful empires in Europe under the banner of House Briann and encircle the fading star of the Pope, the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic faith.
However, as fate would have it... soon after launching the war, the Empress Rachel passed away after succumbing to her love of wine and spirits. The ships with the Alban armies haven't even rounded the boot of Italy!
This is the situation that her son, Basileus Eogan, suddenly finds himself in. Embroiled at the beginning of a war between the two of the titans of Europe and with the court and vassals restless at the succession of an untried and untested ruler. This will be a difficult transition, with enemies both internal and external.
Basileus Eogan in his previous life as a mere heir to the greatest throne on Earth, had devoted himself solely to the mundane but essential tasks of Stewardship. He had more interest in what makes an empire run smoothly, than the acquisition of new lands and titles. However, this interest would have to wait until the contest for the Byzantine throne was complete... there is no point being a good steward of the throne and people if the city is burning around you!
This is the enemy, the mighty Byzantine Empire. On the European mainland, only the Byzantine and Holy Roman Empires have the power to stand toe-to-toe against the Albans. In fact, they are both numerically stronger, but the Albans have the more disciplined and professional armies. The Albans are disadvataged by the fact that their empire is scattered throughout the West and North of Europe with holdings in North Africa. Meanwhile, the Byzantine Empire is a single continuous stretch of land.
Previously, the Alban Empire was consecrated as the revived empire of Brittania. A strong ideal to hark back to the legends of King Arthur, hopefully a standard that will help hold the disparate and fractious nobles to a single cause.
Unfortunately, as with all transitions, there is unrest among the vassals and nobility. This time, it is one of the more powerful vassals that is making a direct claim on the Brittanian throne. The seat of Wessex is one of the newer additions to the Brittanian throne from the Isles, so it is hoped that Basileus Eogan can wedge out some of his support from the more longer term loyal Irish and Scottish lands.
How do you bring a mighty empire to it's knees? Well, the most effective way might not be to directly attack it's armies in the field at the border... but to absorb the losses in the provinces, and go directly for the head of the monster! In this case, the Britannian army made land near the capital of Constinople and went immediately after the head of state and the powerful nobility of the Byzantine Empire. Hopefully, with the leadership in chains, the population would find little worth in fighting a war in which their leaders forced them into.
Perhaps introducing some dissent amongst the Byzantine generals could cause them split their attacks causing them to lose effectiveness? (Hehe... blockchain nerd humour!).
In short order, the general population of the Byzantine Empire realised that they had no quarrel with the Britannian Empire. In fact, the dispute was more with the leadership of the Byzantine and the general population would be better off under the enlightened leadership of Catharian Britannia!
Absorbing such a huge empire into Britannia meant that there would be lots of spoils in the form of newly created and captured titles to spread among the loyal vassals. In fact, many of the internal discontent could be resolved by the judicious awarding of new titles. The faction that was aiming to overthrow Basileus Eogan could be splintered by vassals suddenly discovering the generosity of the Basileus and abandoning their futile revolt.
The generation and awarding of titles to the restless nobility had its desired effect, and the faction of the pretender Duke of Wessex was reduced to a tiny rump of its former power. Now, it was possible to just ignore the demands of the few remaining disillusioned.
However, it is never a good idea to let a faction rest. In true Machiavellian style, any hint of disloyalty would have to be dealt with publicly. After the Spymaster uncovered some dark secrets in the Duke of Wessex's past, he was was forced to publicly disavow his claim on the throne... leaving his former supporters in the wind and at the mercy of the High Crown of Brittania.
Sadly, the Holy Roman Empire saw some degree of threat in its encirclement by Britannia and launched a de Jure war for the lands bordering modern day France, Italy and Germany. Again, Brittania faces a war in which the enemy is concentrated and able to strike directly at the contested lands. Meanwhile, the forces of Brittania are scattered and all the lands are not easily defensible due to the long border line with the Holy Roman Empire.
However, a similar strategy to the successful wars by Empress Rachel and Brigid against the Holy Roman Empire was employed. The Catholics aimed to capture and hold the de Jure territories that were under dispute.. whilst the Cathar forces directly targeted the Holy Roman Empire's most populous and rich cities in the Lowlands of the North.
It would be a race between the two competing objectives. Would the Catholics capture enough of the weakly defended de Jure territories, or would the Cathars break the heavily fortified cities of the North?
In the end, the Cathars prevailed as the wealthy cities fell and the rich nobility were captured. Wars tend to end fast when the rulers are facing the execution block!
Sadly, Emperor Eogan never was able to employ his skills in statecraft and stewardship to the fullest. After fighting and winning two continent shaking wars between the largest empires left on Europe, he passed away after a short but eventful reign. The Byzantine were defeated and assimilated into Brittania with all the attendent problems of vastly different cultures and religions. Meanwhile, the Holy Roman Empire was humiliated again, but survived to potentially cause problems later...
His son, Emperor Thomas, would take the reins at a very youthful age of 24. Not since the legendary Empress Brigid has a leader of Brittania been so young. Will it be possible for Thomas to follow in the steps of his legendary ancestor?
Splinterlands (aka the best blockchain game out there!)
Have you heard of Humble Bundle? It's a place to get some really great deals on Games, e-books and comic bundles. However, if you sign up for a Humble Bundle Subscription (12 USD per month) you get some really nice bonuses!
- A 100+ USD bundle of games delivered direct to you each month, redeemable on Steam, Uplay or direct download (depending on the game). This includes recent Triple A games!
- Access to the Humble Bundle "Trove", a list of 60 games (and growing...) which are free to play as long as you remain a subscriber!
- Additional Discounts on the Humble Bundle store, with the choice of supporting charities, Humble Bundle or developers in whatever percentage that you wish!
Humble Bundle Subscriptions, it's a no brainer for the dedicated gamer!